The System Workshop B459-LA by The Lust Experience

Thought provoking and controversial pop-up event in Skid Row.

Experienced: July 29, 2017
Location: Undisclosed
Address: Skid Row, Los Angeles, CA
Price: Free (with purchase to The System)
Audience Size: 30-50 (estimate)
Runtime: 60-90 minutes
More Information: The Lust Experience site, Noah Sinclair site, Instagram, Facebook

Two days before this event an email went out to those who purchased tickets to The System inviting them to a “workshop” that would be 60-90 minutes long. We were asked to respond by 9pm if we would like to attend. Despite the short notice a nice sized group of people showed up to this event. We were told it would be in Downtown LA and would be given an exact address 30 minutes before it started.

I’m not intimately familiar with Downtown LA and didn’t realize the address was in Skid Row. When I got to the destination I admit I was a bit taken aback. While trying to find street parking there were multiple tents with people living in them on every street. I skipped one open spot because there was large (presumably human) fecal matter that I would have had to run over. Poor me and my car right? I would later find The System works in mysterious ways.

There were some moments of awkwardness with Sarah Sinclair sitting on a table intently observing us mingle before things started. There was a letter from Noah who couldn’t be bothered to show up in person to this event as he let Sarah and Andy (who was confuseddude on the forums before he followed Noah to a cult sacrifice before having his life changed by Noah and The System) run the workshop. There was some pairing up of participants with strangers as we were forced to give up something on our person to the other to keep forever. But the meat of this event was to follow.

We were each given varying random denominations of cash ($1, $5, or $10) and were told we had 30 minutes to make a difference with that money. We were told to share it on social media with #TheSystemSaves. Andy and Sarah made it very clear that they did not care what we did with the money at all. Just to make a difference.

The Lust Experience

People handled this choice differently. Some used it to buy drinks for themselves (while using their own money to buy drinks for others in the bar), some used it to buy water or lottery tickets for the homeless, and others bought random things for no apparent reason at all. I’m sure some just pocketed the money outright. Who would know?

After we met back up in the workshop space Sarah and Andy spoke about how things are valued differently by everyone. We were told that there would be a man outside with something that may be completely useless to us but could be a huge deal for another. For some reason I had thought this was a metaphor and that we were supposed to do a task similar to the one we had just finished. I was overthinking it.

When we went outside we saw Morgan (the newly revealed leader of The Resistance) unpacking his car with boxes and boxes of sack lunches. For me this was a very touching, melancholy, and subdued reveal that Morgan and Noah have been talking and might possibly be on the same side to fight the OSDM. It felt like a great act of charity to let us do what we wanted with this sack lunch. Especially after many had seemingly failed to make a difference in the last exercise with the money. I believe everyone (save for one or two) went out passing the sack lunches to the multitudes of homeless living in their tents in all directions from the venue.

Ending this event on that note was pitch perfect and I was extremely happy with the awareness The Creators had for the location for their event. Maybe I missed the point but to put on a show in Skid Row and not acknowledge that we are all consuming (and in their case making) art in the middle of an impoverished area would have felt insensitive.

There is some controversy with this event because some felt that this piece was exploitative to those less fortunate in the surrounding area. I wholeheartedly disagree. It was completely up to the participants involved “how” to actually make a difference with what we were given. No one was forced to periscope the actual act of giving. No one was forced to try and spread The System to unsuspecting bystanders. If that type of behavior doesn’t feel right in retrospect: practice some self reflection and don’t participate in it next time. Learn from your mistakes. Become a better person. Adapt to the world around you.

The System indeed works in mysterious ways. And maybe it doesn’t fit the macho Noah Sinclair persona completely but who knows at this point- the story isn’t written yet. What I do know is that my eyes were completely opened up to another world. Another reality not an alternate one. One that I would shy away from at all costs yet I engaged with on a personal level because of The Lust Experience.

I think everyone who attended this show will have a lot to say about it for years to come. Thought provoking art like this doesn’t come around often (especially in immersive theater) but I’m glad to say I got to experience it.